Adventures of a Carry-on 2012 Highlights

Ok, I admit I’m feeling the pressure. It’s New Year’s Eve (day), the last day of the year-and I haven’t written a post in a week or more. Worse, I haven’t written a retrospective letter or post about 2012. Nor have I posted a photo essay or favorite photo of 2012. Nothing, nichts, zip, zilch, nada.

Is it wrong not to acknowledge the end of one year and the beginning of another? Is this day more special because it’s the last day? Or perhaps we all just need one more reason to throw down, get our party on and relax a little?

Have I nothing to say? What about the people who follow my blog? Will they be disappointed? I was raised in the south, where women are taught to always be polite and kind. Shouldn’t I at least say thank you? I’ve always placed a lot of importance in being proper and socially correct.

As I ruminated over what I thought would make an interesting final post for 2012, I received a message in my Inbox from WordPress. Those kind folks working behind the scenes sent me an annual report – year of blogging on WordPress. ( Really it’s only been nine months.) At first glance it wasn’t anything to “write home about” as the saying goes. I didn’t have 6000 page views per day. Nor do I have 6000 followers. What I do have is a small but loyal following of people who I don’t know but appear to be genuine, and the numbers are growing. Still, I am fortified by the words of my friend and mentor, Jessie Voights who said, “You’re still building it. You can do it!” God bless Jessie.

The truth is, one of the best things that I did in 2012 was moving my blog to WordPress. Not only did I find community and a platform for my words and photographs, I also made some new friends, and I discovered that I could actually build a blog all on my own. I made a lot of mistakes, and I still have a lot to learn, but “I can do it!”

I did learn a couple of things from the review, though.

There were several stories that people liked enough to leave comments, and tweet and click the like button. One in particular, Travel and Self Exploration, was the all time most liked post of the year. And there was a photograph from the Florida Everglades that I posted for a “weekly photo challenge” which received more likes than others.

The story, Travel and Self Exploration, was one of my favorites. One of the reasons it is close to my heart, is the way it happened. It was easy. I was “in the moment.” I didn’t have to think about it and it was fast too…wrote that one in about twenty minutes. I am not normally a fast writer. Also, I love the photo that inspired it. It was the catalyst for many more memorable (for me) photographs that followed.

So in the spirit of “Best of 2012,” I’m going to repost the photograph and a link to the story, and the photograph from the photo challenge. And I really would love to hear you comments and see your “likes.”

weekly photo challenge

weekly photo challenge

Thank you to all the bloggers out there who have inspired me with you posts, encouraged me with your likes and comments, and shared your beautiful stories and photographs. Thank you for the world of ideas on the world wide web.
Please share with me what you’d like to see or read in the new year.
May you have the best year ever and see you in 2013!

Read the story:
Travel and Self Exploration

 ©penny's purple socks photo pennysadler 2012

All materials copyright Penny Sadler 2012. All rights reserved.


My Inner Italy, by Amy Bloom

A friend and fellow blogger sent me a the weekly newsletter from Gourmet Magazine. This week’s feature is Italian food and cooking.
As I was looking through the newsletter, a title at the bottom of the page caught my eye: My Inner Italy. I have a huge crush on Italy, as anyone reading my blog knows, and this title grabbed me. The rest of the story lived up to the title. It did everything a story should. I was captive to the words, and wanted more when I was done. I felt as though, just maybe, I have more than a little in common with the author.

I, too, grew up with Italian neighbor, who cooked pasta for me. Apparently, I was anemic as a child, and that was the only thing I would eat. Unfortunately I don’t recall her name, but I will be contacting my brother soon to ask him, as he is old enough to remember. I do remember her incredible pasta.

My family was not Catholic, but I often went to mass with my Catholic friends – another thing I have in common with this woman.

She said Italy is heaven on earth and I have to agree. I hope you enjoy this short story, obviously written from the heart, but with fun and wry humour too.

Here’s the first paragraph – My Inner Italy

1959 I have just really started noticing the world around me, my neighborhood, my town, the sea in which I swim. I notice that no one minds where or what I read as long as I am not in my father’s chair or my parents’ bed, that my father’s cigar smoking is something everyone complains about but no one can stop, that my grandmother is the smallest adult person I know and smells like her own kitchen (schmaltz, boiled chicken, rye bread, and schnapps) and my mother is tall and glamorous and smells like Ma Griffe, a cloud of sultry flowery scent that still gets my attention, 50 years later. In her wish to get away from the boiled chicken, boiled flanken, boiled potatoes (rolled in schmaltz, hold the parsley) of her parents, my mother embraced the time- and energy-saving foods of the New World. If there is a stronger word than embrace, imagine it here. My mother was a mediocre cook, not only from lack of talent but also from a furious lack of inclination (as I came to understand). I remember one celebratory dinner of incinerated lamb chops, Stouffer’s frozen corn soufflé, Del Monte canned green beans with Durkee French onion rings crumbled on top, and a Sara Lee cheesecake, barely defrosted, with a couple of spoonfuls of Cool Whip ladled over it; that was as good as it got. My mother liked entertaining; she was brilliant with improvised hors d’oeuvres, charades, and fruity drinks—she just hated housewifery—and I think now, “Who can blame her?”

Read the rest of the story.
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